Selena Gomez Can’t Tour Russia Over Pro-gay Rights Stance?

Selena Gomez

Such demonstrations may draw attention to them for the wrong reasons and fuel calls for a boycott of their products. President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June, sparking global outrage and a wave of protests demanding a boycott of the Games, which will be held in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi in February. There’s no sign of athletes staying away but others big names are distancing themselves from the event. Just this week pop singer Cher said she had refused an invitation to perform because of Russia’s anti-gay stance. Related: Bars worldwide boycott Russian vodka over anti-gay laws Putin said in an interview on state television in September that gay people would not be discriminated against at the Sochi Games. But that appears at odds with statements made by government officials that the anti-gay propaganda law will be enforced. The legislation gives authorities the power to impose fines as well as detain foreigners who are deemed to have breached the law before deporting them. Four Dutch tourists reportedly making a film about gay rights in Russia were arrested under the law in July. The other big Olympic sponsors are Visa ( V , Fortune 500 ), Samsung ( SSNLF ), Panasonic ( PCRFF ), General Electric ( GE , Fortune 500 ), Dow Chemical ( DOW , Fortune 500 ), Procter & Gamble ( PG , Fortune 500 ), Omega ( OCFN ) and Atos ( ATOS ). They’re staying tight-lipped about the issue in public but a senior official at the International Olympic Committee said this month that several had raised concerns about how the law could affect the Games. “I have heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, of what they are afraid of might happen,” IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg said. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us,” he added, saying the IOC would enforce its rules against demonstrations. Related: Olympics win boosts Japan stocks A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said the company has been “straightforward in our many discussions with the IOC about our expectations regarding safety and security [at the Games] …and will continue to engage directly with the IOC on this paramount priority.” Companies pay an estimated $100 million to become a major Olympic sponsor. They also pump in massive additional investment to support related marketing campaigns.

Russia wants to consolidate strategic ties with India: Medvedev

Russian coast guards in the Barents Sea fired warning shots on Wednesday and arrested two Greenpeace activists from the Amsterdam-registered ‘Arctic Sunrise’ ship who scaled the side of the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya platform. Prirazlomnaya is Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil rig and a sensitive project in a country that has made tapping the region’s resources a priority to drive its economy. Greenpeace activists had boarded the platform previously in August. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the action had threatened the site’s security and it had summoned the Dutch ambassador on Wednesday, asking him to ensure it was not repeated. “The intruders’ actions were of aggressive and provocative character and had the outward signs of extremist activity that can lead to people’s death and other grave consequences,” the ministry said in a statement. Two activists – one with Swiss citizenship, the other from Finland – were still being held by Russian coast guards after the protest, Greenpeace said, in a statement that dismissed Russia’s criticism of the protest. “Let’s be absolutely clear about this: the real threat to the Arctic comes not from Greenpeace but from oil companies like Gazprom that are determined… to drill in remote, frozen seas,” said Ben Ayliffe, the green group’s Arctic oil campaign head. The Arctic is estimated to hold 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas. But environmental campaigners say the rush for the Arctic’s natural resources threatens to destroy its fragile ecosystems and says there is insufficient emergency planning in case of an oil spill in its extreme conditions. Global majors including ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil have agreed to enter Russia’s Arctic waters and Norway is pushing ahead with its own drilling plans. But technical difficulties, high costs and mishaps as well as determined campaigns against the Arctic drilling have now brought greater hesitation among some players. Developing the Prirazlomnoye oil deposit, located in the Pechora Sea some 60 km (40 miles) from Russia’s northern coast, was already delayed last year with Gazprom blaming technical problems. It is expected to reach peak production of 6 million tonnes per year (120,000 barrels per day) in 2019.

Russia calls Greenpeace Arctic protest aggressive, dangerous

Before Gomez’s camp confirmed the show cancelations, author and gay-rights activist John Becker started a petition on Change.org , urging the singer to speak out for gay rights in Russia. “I am writing today to ask Selena Gomez to stand on stage and speak out for Russia’s LGBT community during her upcoming trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.” At press time, more than 12,000 had signed the petition. The Stars Dance show must go on though. Gomez is slated to play Dubai on September 27 before heading to the States on October 10, where she’ll tour through November. This past summer, Gaga addressed Russia’s anti-gay laws and the scrutiny she’s come under because of it. “Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?

russia olympic rings

Medvedev’s remark came days ahead of the planned commencement of production of the first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP). The Indo-Russian joint venture project in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu is expected to begin production in the next three weeks. “Kudankulam project is doing well and we would like to increase cooepration with India in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” he said. The Russian premier was speaking during a media interaction with editors attending the 15th General Assembly of Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies(OANA) here. Noting that Russia has very “purposeful” relationship with India, he said, “we would like to advance this relationship in various fields including by having technical cooperation.” “We have done in the past and would continue to do so,” Medvedev said, adding, “We are interested in further developing and consolidating our strategic partnership with India.” According to an earlier plan, KNPP-I was supposed to go on stream by the end of August, but missed the target due to a technical snag. The Unit-I had achieved criticality on July 13. The second unit is expected to go on stream by June next year. KNPP Units one and two are VVER-1000 type reactors being set up with technical cooperation from Russia. Kudankulam is a 2,000 MW project comprising the two units each of which will generate 1,000 MW power. There is a plan to set up four more units of 1,000 MW each. Once those are ready, the Kudankulam plant will have six reactors in all.